‘Remove the homeless before royal wedding’ council leader beats confidence vote
Simon Dudley said police should use their powers under the 1824 Vagrancy Act and the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to “protect residents and tourists”.
A council leader who suggested rough sleepers in Windsor be moved on ahead of the royal wedding has survived a vote of no confidence.
Conservative Simon Dudley said beggars could present the town in a “sadly unfavourable light” when Prince Harry marries American actress Meghan Markle in May.
He drew criticism from figures including Prime Minister Theresa May after a letter to police earlier this month, in which he complained about “aggressive begging and intimidation”, and “bags and detritus” on the streets.
Councillor Asghar Majeed, who quit the Conservative party group last week in protest, says Mr Dudley has embarrassed "the royal family, the Prime Minister, our borough, our residents...the list goes on and on." pic.twitter.com/MpnJtB1ZLG— Catherine Wyatt (@catherinehwyatt) January 29, 2018
But at an extraordinary meeting of the Tory-led council on Monday, councillors defeated a motion accusing Mr Dudley of bringing the authority “into disrepute” by 43 votes to 9.
Mr Dudley had told the meeting: “I categorically disagree with the motion. I think it’s driven by personal issues from some individuals which are longstanding and well known by this council.”
Mr Dudley had urged police to use their powers under the 1824 Vagrancy Act and the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to “protect residents and tourists”.
I am at Maidenhead Town Hall where council leader Simon Dudley faces a vote of no confidence after he suggested rough sleepers in Windsor are moved on ahead of Prince Hary and Meghan Markle's wedding pic.twitter.com/PhlRzhHrcV— Catherine Wyatt (@catherinehwyatt) January 29, 2018
Last week he survived an attempt within his own Conservative group to oust him.
Three councillors, Paul Brimacombe, Asghar Majeed and Geoffrey Hill, quit the party group in protest after last week’s failed vote, choosing to continue as Independent Conservatives.
Councillors in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead were summoned to the Monday evening, where it heard public questions and a motion of no confidence.
Mr Majeed told the council meeting that Mr Dudley’s comments were “embarrassing the royal family, the Prime Minister, the borough, our residents, members, officers, the list goes on and on and on.
“Can it be any worse than this in reputational terms? Councillor Dudley has once again shown a complete lack of capacity to deal with sensitive issues.”
The motion voted on, which was proposed by former Tory councillor Claire Stretton, read: “To pass a Motion of No Confidence in the Leader of the Council following events during the week commencing 1/1/18, instigated by statements on Twitter and a letter to the Police & Crime Commissioner by Cllr Simon Dudley, that have brought the council and councillors into disrepute.”
Sadly there is an epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy in #Windsor @RBWM. I will be writing to @StansfeldPCC copying @TVP_Chief @Bhupinderrai70 at @ThamesVP @TVP_Windsor asking for them to focus on dealing with this before the #RoyalWedding— Simon Dudley (@MrSimonDudley) December 27, 2017
Please read this letter. My concerns are with antisocial behaviour and the security implications in #Windsor. @RBWM has done much to alleviate #homelessness and we/I will do even more to tackle this national issue. Both with our #RBWM_BLP and other initiatives with the 3rd sector https://t.co/XEsVfzQ5Vv— Simon Dudley (@MrSimonDudley) January 4, 2018
After making the controversial comments, Mr Dudley apologised and said he was not referring to genuine homeless people, and that he regretted referring to Harry and Ms Markle’s wedding at the time.
The couple will marry at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on May 19.
Protesters had gathered outside Maidenhead Town Hall before the meeting, with Angus Cameron, chairman of the Windsor Labour Party, telling the Press Association Mr Dudley’s views had been “scandalous and very Trumpite”.